Marsh St. John’s Wort – Flowers

(Triadenum Virginicum)

(Elodea Virginica of Gray)

Flowers—Pale magenta, pink, or flesh color, about 1/2 in. across, in terminal clusters, or from leaf axils. Calyx of 5 equal sepals, persistent on fruit; 5 petals; 9 or more stamens united in 3 sets; pistil of 3 distinct styles. Stem : Ito 1 1/2-, it. high, simple, leafy. Leaves : Opposite, pale, with black, glandular dots, broadly oblong, entire edged, seated on stem or clasping by heart-shaped base. Fruit: An oblong, acute, deep red capsule.

Preferred Habitat Swamps and cranberry bogs.

Flowering Season—July—September.

Distribution—Labrador to the Gulf, and westward to Nebraska.

Late in the summer, after the rather insignificant pink flowers have withered, this low plant, which almost never lacks some color in its green parts, greatly increases its beauty by tinting stems, leaves, and seed vessels with red. Like other members of the family, the flower arranges its stamens in little bundles of three, and when an insect comes to feast on the abundant pollen—no nectar being secreted—he cannot avoid rubbing some off on the stigmas that are on a level with the anthers. He may sometimes carry pollen from blossom to blossom, it is true, but certainly the St. John’s Wort takes no adequate precautions against self fertilization at any time. Toward the close of its existence the flower draws its petals together toward the axils, thus bringing anthers and stigmas in contact.